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Archive for August, 2005

FAQ: Malachi 2:16

Here’s Malachi 2:16 in the ESV:

“For the man who hates and divorces, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Here’s Malachi 2:16 in the RSV:

“For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.”

You can see the different emphasis of the verse in these two translations. Why did the ESV translators translate this verse this way?

The answer turns on some fairly technical points in Hebrew, but it boils down to three arguments, as explained by ESV Old Testament Chairman C. John Collins:

  1. The translation of this verse found in the AV [KJV] (and most English Bibles since then), with God hating divorce, represents a departure from the translation tradition of the previous centuries.
  2. The rendering of the ESV, which has a Judean man “hating” his wife and divorcing her, does the best job of handling the details of the Masoretic Text, with no corrections. It also enables us to see how this fits into the context of profaning the calling of the people of God.
  3. This way of reading Malachi 2:16 allows us to see how the verse fits into the overall promotion of covenant fidelity as the ideal of marriage, an ideal for which the faithful among the people of God—whether in ancient Israel or in the Christian Church today—will seek all the resources of grace, of forgiveness, of fellowship with the saints, and of the Holy Spirit’s enabling power.

That’s the short answer. For the long answer, read this 25-page article (pdf) by C. John Collins. You can also find this article (and others) on the Articles page elsewhere on this website.

August 22, 2005 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:37 am | (3) Comments »

ESV Readability (Grade Levels)

Here are the ESV’s overall readability statistics:

  • Flesch Reading Ease: 74.9
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.4

That’s why we say in marketing materials that the ESV reads at an eighth-grade level.

Below are readability statistics for each book in the ESV. Readability is tough to condense to a single number; many factors contribute to how easy or hard something is to read. The Flesch-Kincaid algorithm, for example, doesn’t handle poetry well. That limitation skews the results for poetry-heavy books.

Therefore, you should best consider these figures in relative terms: John (in general) writes simpler Greek than Paul, and the ESV’s translation philosophy lets you see some of that through the lower grade level in John’s gospel and letters.

With the above cautions in mind, here are the Flesch Reading Ease (higher is easier to read) and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (lower is easier to read) for each book in the ESV. The highest and lowest numbers in each column are in bold.

Book Reading Ease Grade Level
Genesis 78.6 6.3
Exodus 76.7 7.3
Leviticus 71.8 8.7
Numbers 69.8 8.5
Deuteronomy 74.5 8.7
Joshua 66.7 9.4
Judges 74.5 7.4
Ruth 79.1 6.3
1 Samuel 79.2 6.4
2 Samuel 77.6 6.7
1 Kings 74.1 7.8
2 Kings 74.7 7.8
1 Chronicles 62.2 8.7
2 Chronicles 67.2 9.3
Ezra 63.3 9.8
Nehemiah 65.9 8.9
Esther 67.4 9.8
Job 86.3 4.2
Psalms 85.9 3.9
Proverbs 81.3 5.3
Ecclesiastes 80.6 6.0
Song of Solomon 83.1 4.9
Isaiah 81.8 5.5
Jeremiah 74.5 7.5
Lamentations 85.0 4.0
Ezekiel 76.5 7.1
Daniel 72.0 8.5
Hosea 85.9 4.9
Joel 78.9 5.6
Amos 83.6 5.3
Obadiah 80.1 6.1
Jonah 80.4 6.2
Micah 81.9 5.6
Nahum 85.2 3.8
Habakkuk 84.1 4.3
Zephaniah 81.5 5.2
Haggai 81.0 5.9
Zechariah 78.9 6.9
Malachi 79.3 6.3
New Testament
Matthew 77.9 6.6
Mark 79.3 6.1
Luke 78.5 6.5
John 82.1 5.6
Acts 71.5 8.3
Romans 74.1 7.1
1 Corinthians 76.6 6.3
2 Corinthians 73.3 7.6
Galatians 72.2 7.8
Ephesians 62.9 11.7
Philippians 68.6 9.0
Colossians 68.5 9.0
1 Thessalonians 72.0 8.5
2 Thessalonians 71.6 8.8
1 Timothy 62.4 9.7
2 Timothy 64.0 9.1
Titus 59.9 9.7
Philemon 73.1 8.8
Hebrews 66.3 9.5
James 76.3 6.4
1 Peter 68.2 8.8
2 Peter 62.7 10.2
1 John 80.0 6.1
2 John 77.6 7.2
3 John 79.1 5.6
Jude 62.0 8.5
Revelation 74.8 8.4

We calculated these scores using Microsoft Word. We changed some of the poetry into paragraph form to improve the accuracy of the figures.

August 8, 2005 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:35 am | (7) Comments »